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Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

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Mr. Smith Goes To Washington

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  1. Mr. Smith Goes To Washington A Lesson About The Senate

  2. Jefferson Smith Becomes a Senator • 17th Amendment allows Governor of State to Appoint a replacement When a vacancy occurs • Four States require a special election be held • Senator only finishes current term of vacating Senator • If Smith were a senator today he would make $174,000 / year

  3. Who Are All These Senators? • Vice President of The United States presides of the Senate (only votes in the event of a tie) • VP rarely presides over Senate debates today • President Pro Tempore, usually senior member of the majority party, sits in VP’s place • Many times Pres. Pro Temp. assigns Jr. Senators to preside instead • Unlike The Speaker of the House, President Pro Tempore has very little real power • Mostly an Honorary position

  4. Who Are All These Senators? • Each party elects a party leader in the Senate (Majority and Minority Leaders) • Majority Party Leader Controls the Agenda of Senate – Most powerful member of the Senate • Minority Party Leader – main party leader of the opposition party in Senate • Majority Whip – Assists Majority leader, ensures party members vote according to party wishes • Minority Whip - Assists Minority leader, ensures party members vote according to party wishes Majority Leader: D. – Harry Reid Minority Leader: R. - Mitch McConnell

  5. Jeff Smith Creates a Bill

  6. What’s With All These Rules? • Standing Rules of the Senate are rules of order adopted by the Senate Key Points • Quorum – A majority of Senators must be present • Presiding Officer recognizes Senators before they may speak (who rises first) • Majority/Minority leaders usually deferred to • Senators may only address the Presiding officer during debate • Senators may speak as long as they wish, though consensus of time limits are often agreed upon • When debates conclude, the motion in question is voted upon by “voice vote” (aye, no)

  7. It’s a Filibuster! • Filibusters are obstruction tactics used to block a motion • The recognized Senator holds the floor for an extended period of time to stall a vote • Filibusters may be ended by Cloture • Cloture requires a 3/5 vote of Senate • Filibusters rarely happen today, usually majority party changes topic of debate if one is threatened

  8. How much of this happens in “Real Life” • Strom Thurmond held the longest Filibuster, failing to block the Civil Rights Act of 1957 • His filibuster lasted 24 hours and 18 minutes • Jim Bunning of Kentucky led the most recent filibuster in 2010 • Timeline of Filibusters